Michaelmas Term 2021 Updates

Summary of plans for MT21 [last updated 20/07/2021]

We know that many of you are keen to know about plans for teaching in Maths next term.  The University has given us some general principles, and a working group within Maths has been discussing the detailed implications for our departmental teaching.

In preparing these plans, we have taken into account University guidance, space constraints in the Andrew Wiles Building, implications for student and staff workload and wellbeing, and feedback from students and staff on teaching provision over the last 18 months.  Our aim for MT21 is to have as much in person teaching as possible for small group sessions, while recognising that currently it is uncertain whether large lectures will be permitted.  The Working Group has learned from student feedback that was broadly positive about the educational value of lecture recordings, challenges students reported experiencing in time management and scheduling, and the need for staff and students to have clarity early in the summer about plans for Michaelmas Term. The plans below have been developed in response to this feedback, and in order to be able to agree and share plans with you now, we’ve had to be cautious. It may not be possible for some students to arrive in time for the start of the academic year, so our provision needs to be inclusive of these groups too.

Here is a short summary of our plans for MT21.  Plans for teaching in HT22 and beyond will be prepared in due course.  Of course, all in-person activities will be subject to change if restrictions are reintroduced.  Please note that these arrangements are for courses offered by the Mathematical Institute.  Computer Science and Statistics, as well as Philosophy and Physics, will be making their own arrangements for their courses.

  • All courses will use a new Moodle site to pull together lecture notes, problems sheets, lecture videos and any other material in a central place.  (For those of you with experience of Canvas: Moodle will be similar, but with more flexibility for us to tailor it for our department’s needs.)
  • Prelims and Part A: lectures by pre-recorded videos, complemented by college provision
  • Part B: lectures by pre-recorded videos, complemented we hope by a couple of in-person sessions per course early in the term, by in-person intercollegiate classes (or hybrid if necessary), and by Moodle discussion board
  • We know from your feedback that plenty of you find corrected captions useful, we are aiming to continue getting as many as possible corrected over the summer vacation.
  • Part C: lectures delivered live and in person (also live-streamed and recorded), complemented by in-person intercollegiate classes (or hybrid if necessary) and in some cases by pre-recorded lecture videos.  Dissertation supervision meetings in person wherever possible.
  • In questionnaires during the 2020-2021 academic year, many of you shared with us tips on study strategies that you were finding effective, and we’ll look to share some of these with students (including the incoming freshers).
  • We are in touch with MURC about additional support for students, recognising the value to students in building a strong community and in students connecting with others taking the same courses as them.